Tag Archives: shapeshifting

Shapeshifting into Higher Consciousness

 

I must confess this is a book I’ve known about for ages and not picked up because I assumed it would be too New Age for me. However, reading bits of articles from Llyn Roberts, and hearing some of her youtube videos, I realised I’d very likely made a mistake. So I spent the weekend reading this one.

Shapeshifting, is essentially a magical way of talking about change. Changing ourselves, our outlook, our perspective and changing what we do and how we are in the world as a consequence. Llyn offers an array of tools from Shamanic cultures to help the reader do this. It’s a very readable book, the exercises are very usable – you can pick out odd ones, or work with them as a more deliberate project.

There are a number of things I particularly liked.

Firstly this is a book full of interesting meditation work. I get bored silly, and frustrated, when meditation is presented just as emptying your mind and observing your thoughts. I like creative approaches, and this has them in abundance. There are some really innovative guided meditations here, and the kind of work that can take a person from meditation into true journeying. There’s also guidance for facilitating the meditations for groups, which is rare and valuable content.

Secondly, the author draws on shamanic traditions from all over the world, and does so clearly from a basis of having studied with many indigenous teachers. However, the result is not some kind of single amalgamated shamanism – Llyn places practices within cultures and traditions, points out differences of world view as well as similarities, and paves the way for a reader to go on and read other titles or follow up in other ways. It feels very respectful, and is certainly rich with insights, mixing more conventionally teacherly material with anecdotes from personal experience.

The third thing that really struck me is how far the core ethos of the book is from New Age thinking. It’s not about personal enlightenment, or personal gain or using your will to get everything you want. This is a book about being a conscious and responsible inhabitant of the Earth. It’s a book that supports activism, ecological and social responsibility. While there’s every encouragement to dream big and manifest your intentions, it’s also very clear that we all have a duty to do that in sustainable ways that don’t have a ghastly price tag on them that someone or something else will be obliged to pay.

I can entirely recommend this book for offering meditation material I’ve not seen anywhere else, and a responsible but also inspiring outlook on how we might all do a better job of managing our place in the world.

More about the book here – http://www.moon-books.net/books/shapeshifting-into-higher-consciousness

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Shapeshifting with Tam Lin

Tam Lin is an ancient Scottish story full of love, magic, faerie complications and a lot of shapeshifting. Many versions exist, but the short explanation is: Tam is a young man, falls off his horse while hunting, taken by the faeries to live with them, goes round seducing young ladies in the woods. Seduces Janet, gets her pregnant. She comes back looking for a herb to terminate the pregnancy, he tells her the faeries are going to sacrifice him to Satan at Halloween, and how to save him, she shows up, pulls him from his horse, hangs onto him as he shifts and eventually gets a naked man she can take home. It’s a good story, and there are a lot of places to go with it.

This version doesn’t have any angry faerie queens in it. Just a strange young man, who wanders the forest. A young man who has become more of a shade than a man, and who she has to hold through his transformations so that he can turn back into the kind of person you can realistically take home.

I find this incredibly resonant. Take out the faeries, and what you have is a story that reflects something about bringing back someone who is lost and wandering. I’ve had nights like this, when the difference between life and death is the person who can hold you as you flail, howl, and sometimes bite. A lot of the versions have Tam Lin become a burning brand of iron. Anyone who has tried to hold someone in crisis can expect it to be tough. Mostly it’s not a case of one hard night fending off faerie transformations. Seeing the snarling wolf and the snake within the other person, seeing their teeth and their broken animal self, seeing where they are dangerous and where they are wounded… generally it takes more than a night of holding to make that journey. It takes a lot of holding the burning iron.

But sometimes, at the far end of it, when you have weathered everything there is, when you have heard it all, sometimes what you are left with is another person, whole in their skin and naked in their vulnerability. Someone who might, after all, be able to go back to the village and take up life as a person again.